Blue Christmas

Isaiah 40:1 (NLT)

“Comfort, comfort my people,”    says your God.
 
 

Holiday memories aren’t necessarily happy in many families. 

If you are in pain this Advent season, God is here to comfort you. Perhaps you are in grief over the loss of a loved one. Perhaps this was not the kind of year financially you had expected. It could be the economy. We live in a prosperous country, but not everyone shares equally in it. It’s tough not to be able to do for our children all the things we would like to do. Of course, some people can’t even put food on the table. Or perhaps you received bad news from the doctor for yourself or someone in your family. Perhaps your marriage is coming apart. Maybe you are separated from a loved one. What an awful season to deal with family problems. Whatever your heartbreak this day, God wants to offer you His comfort.


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When life hits hard

For though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again, but the wicked stumble when calamity strikes.
Proverbs 24:16
Rocky Balboa — the Italian Stallion — is a fictional character created by Sylvester Stallone who has inspired men for many years. In Rocky Balboa, the 2006 film starring Stallone, Rocky shares something with his son that is true both inside and outside the boxing ring:

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All opposed, say ____?

I will stay on at Ephesus until Pentecost, because a great door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many who oppose me.
1 Corinthians 16:8-9
Open door or closed door has become a catchphrase in Christian circles — and for good reason. The idea is found in Scriptures such as the one quoted above. There is a danger, however, that one might assume

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Is your passion hot?

Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
John 14:12
Passionate people never work for money. This is not to say that they do not earn a great deal of money. But the likes of William Shakespeare, Thomas Edison, Estée Lauder, Walt Disney, Sam Walton, and Bill Gates, who all became wealthy, were inspired not by money

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Striving for perfection

Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Matthew 5:48
This quality of excellence and the desire to be and do one’s best has been implanted into the believer’s soul. Some people immediately give up alcoholic drinks after conversion. One man, after giving his heart to Christ, began immediately improving his handwriting. He remarked, “All things must be done well for Christ, even the little things.”

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We Share God’said Glory

We all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
2 Corinthians 3:18
As the glory was manifested from God to Jesus, it has now been manifested from Jesus to all believers. We don’t possess it, mind you; we radiate it. Recall the account of Moses’ going before God to intercede for the people.


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The Glue of Grace

To each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.
Ephesians 4:7
God often breaks us in order to remake us. For almost anything good to be made, it first must be broken. A tree is broken, and a house is built. Soil is broken, and a crop is grown.

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Do Your Job!

Most of us, if we’re honest, would say we would rather be the people who have the servants than to be servants. But according to Jesus,

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Behind Closed Doors

Behind your doors and your doorposts you have put your pagan symbols. Forsaking me, you uncovered your bed, you climbed into it and opened it wide; you made a pact with those whose beds you love.
Isaiah 57:8
Acceptable, available, concealable, excusable — perhaps no other vice can be better described this way than lust.

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THE HOLE

For when we came into Macedonia, we had no rest, but we were harassed at every turn — conflicts on the outside, fears within. But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus.
                2 Corinthians 7:5-6
 
“The Hole” is just one of many nicknames given to what is perhaps the worst punishment a prisoner can face — solitary confinement.

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